Mads Kornerup is the co-founder and creative director of Danish fine jewellery label Shamballa Jewels. After extensive travels across the world, including visits to Brazil and India, he designed the brand’s iconic bracelet, which was inspired by Buddhist prayer beads and features gold beads strung together using the ancient technique of macramé braiding.
Luxurious and individual, pieces by Shamballa Jewels are loved the world over and worn by esteemed tastemakers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Diane von Furstenberg. Kornerup, who is as unique and charming as his jewels, invited Global Blue to the company’s Copenhagen flagship, which he designed in collaboration with architect Peter Bundgaard Rützou of Space Copenhagen.
‘I had three main inspirations when I created Shamballa Jewels. Firstly, I have been practicing yoga and meditation for many years and wanted to create jewellery whose value extends beyond its material value, and to inspire conversation and introspection through design, just as prayer beads and spiritual symbols did in ancient times. The second was to make jewellery for men. I have always enjoyed wearing jewellery, but didn’t find many options, and so I had to design pieces for myself. The third was to make fine jewellery for the modern man and woman. It had to be casual, relaxed, something that could be worn every day instead of being locked up in a safe only for special occasions.
‘At Shamballa Jewels we have a special team of very committed individuals who love jewellery and stand by our values of compassion and wisdom. At the head office, we are a closely knit group of 23 full time “Shamballaizers”. If we include our goldsmiths and agents, we are approximately 50.
‘We opened this store in December 2012. We are located in a prime area in central Copenhagen. Our street, Ny Østergade, is rapidly evolving into the most luxurious street of Copenhagen. Our store faces two of Copenhagen’s most historical social landmarks: the Hotel d’Angleterre and Café Victor. These places are the natural habitats of our clientele – they stay at d’Angleterre, lunch at Café Victor and shop at Shamballa Jewels.
‘The store has been my dream project and I have been involved in most details. I have been planning the design for a very long time. I wanted a place that will encourage people to reflect on what they want their jewellery to represent, instead of simply walking in to buy gold and diamonds. You walk into a welcoming open room. The store has a very tranquil interior and together with hidden details it invites you to discover and create. It has tall arches and detailed columns inspired by Buddhist stupas that transport you to oriental surroundings, while our Danish heritage shines through in clean lines and the use of our signature materials – smoked oak and burnished brass. Many have commented that our store feels like a meditation room, which is exactly the feeling I desired.
‘What makes it even more special is that our production facility is on the mezzanine right above the store, so our customers can get their bracelets customised on the spot. Our focus is customisable jewellery that is personalised, so everything we make is exclusive and unique. Our customers’ feedback has been that it is extra special to have something made, braided and polished right at the heart of Shamballa Jewels’s home in Copenhagen.
‘I spend a lot of time at the drawing board and unveil new designs only when I feel that we have something beautiful to share. Sometimes it is just one piece, sometimes a more thematic set. Once the design is finalised the choice of materials is based on one simple rule: choose the best. We use only grade VS quality diamonds and 18-carat gold because our experience is that 18-carat gold holds the gemstones most securely.
‘Our opening night was incredibly special. We are an international brand and I have lived in few places around the world. It was an extraordinary feeling to open our flagship store in my home city, among friends and family who have known me since I started, and have supported my dreams.
‘There are also many stories from our customers. One of the most touching ones is a customer who was diagnosed with cancer. She would come and buy a bead from us after completing each stage of her treatment successfully. Today she is well and has a beautiful Shamballa bracelet made of beads she has been collecting over time. It is very touching to know that our jewellery means something so personal to our customers. It inspires me to focus more on designing meaningful jewellery.’
Shamballa Jewels, Ny Østergade 7, 1101 Copenhagen, +45 5374 2147, shamballajewels.com